Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people over the age of 65. However, early detection can help prevent or stop the progression of the eye condition. In this blog post, New York eye surgeon Dr. Sandra Belmont of Belmont Eye Center answers commonly asked questions regarding macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the eye’s macula, the small central area of the retina that controls visual acuity. In macular degeneration, the macula breaks down, leading to gradual (in rare cases, sudden) loss of central vision. Macular degeneration typically does not affect the eye’s peripheral (side) vision but people with the eye condition may have difficulty with tasks such as reading, driving and recognizing faces.
Common symptoms of macular degeneration include blurry or fuzzy vision, distorted vision, and blurry or blank spots in central vision.
People with an increased risk for macular degeneration include those over age 65, smokers and those who have a family history of the disease.
Researchers have identified several preventative measures that can help lower one’s risk of developing macular degeneration. These include exercising regularly, not smoking, and eating a diet rich in antioxidants, zinc, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids. If you have a family history of macular degeneration, you should have comprehensive eye exams regularly on a regular basis. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people between the ages of 45 and 60 should schedule an eye exam every two years and people over the age of 60 should have an exam once a year.
Macular degeneration cannot be cured, but early detection can help slow or even stop the progression of the disease. Treatment options for macular degeneration include drug therapy, medication and laser surgery. The type of treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
To learn more about macular degeneration, including how to detect and manage it, contact the Belmont Eye Center at (212) 486-2020.